Cancer patient transported in estate car due to ambulance shortages

A cancer patient was transported to hospital in an estate car because there were no ambulances available.

The patient from Hawes required timed specialist chemotherapy treatment at the James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough.

Due to his serious condition, the man needs to be taken to hospital on a stretcher and his wife had booked Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) to transport him.

However, it is understood no ambulances were available and the man’s wife had to ask a neighbour for help.

Upper Dales county councillor John Blackie has taken up the case with YAS.

He said: “His wife in desperation knocked on a kind-hearted near neighbours door and he generously made his estate car available to take her husband semi-lying down and drove them both to the James Cook.

“It was not a comfortable ride for the patient but it was essential that he made the chemotherapy suite for the timed appointment because the chemicals prepared for infusion have a very short shelf life.”

The neighbour had made other arrangements for the day so left expecting that the man would be taken home by ambulance.

However, Cllr Blackie said YAS refused to make the return journey as well.

He said: “The patient and his wife had a right to expect that the YAS would make up for letting them down by undertaking the return journey.

“When the treatment which took around three hours was finished the patient and his wife applied to the desk for an ambulance to take them back to Hawes – but they were point-blank refused because as they had made their own way to the James Cook.”

Cllr Blackie described the reply as “totally unacceptable and totally unforgivable”.

He added: “Whomever set this policy in action  – YAS or the Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby CCG who commission ambulances or both – needs to hang their head in shame.”

The patient’s wife had to call on another neighbour with a suitable large car to come to the James Cook from Hawes.

“For the patient who is very unwell, the nine hours the whole trip took was almost unbearable,”said Cllr Blackie.

Cllr Blackie has urged North Yorkshire County Council’s scrutiny of health committee to investigate.

A spokesperson for Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said: “We are very sorry to hear that the patient is unhappy with their experience and our Patient Relations Team is looking into the concerns raised.”

Earlier this year, a Brompton-on-Swale mother of two was left on the floor with broken bones waiting for an ambulance that never came.